Americans afoul of IRS: 5 million and counting

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The Internal Revenue Service says 5 million Americans are delinquent in paying their taxes, to the tune of $10.9 billion. Of that, nearly $4 billion has been labeled "not collectible."

According to figures released by Rep. Benjamin Rosenthal (D) of New York, the number of taxpayers who fall behind in their payments appears to be growing. The IRS told Mr. Rosenthal it collected $6 billion in past-due taxes during fiscal 1980, up from $4.9 billion in 1979 and $4.3 billion in 1978. But thanks to new collection procedures, the IRS said, it now expects to get back $21 to $ 22 for each dollar it spends in trying to collect overdue taxes.

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